Michael J. Peach Outstanding Graduate Student Award

Michael J. Peach was born in West Virginia, attended college there and went on to obtain a MS and PhD in Pharmacology at West Virginia University — finishing in 1967.

From the beginning of his graduate study, Mike was a very enthusiastic student of the renin – angiotensin system, which we now understand as one of the major hormonal regulators of blood pressure and the cardiovascular system. After his education at West Virginia, Mike did postdoctoral work at the Cleveland Clinic where he studied with some of the major figures in this field of research. In late 1968, Mike came to the University and spent the next 24 years making his own major contributions to our understanding of the regulation of blood pressure and the treatment of cardiovascular disease. His research was recognized through out the world and he garnered many awards and appointments to important national committees on hypertension.

At the time of his unexpected death in 1992, Mike Peach was a Professor of Pharmacology and the Medical School’s Associate Dean for Research. These were his formal titles, but for those of us who knew him well, he was much more. I would like to give you just two examples.

Mike had an enthusiastic and infectious approach to research which was best reflected in his training of students and fellows. During his career, he trained 17 graduate students and 25 postdoctoral fellows, and his influence did not stop there. There were more than a few faculty who felt the effects of Mike’s training. One of Mike’s unique talents was his ability to become very interested in your work and help you with it, often markedly. Even more unique was the fact that he wished no real credit for his input, to see others succeed was reward enough for Mike.

Another important aspect of Mike’s effect on science was his breadth. His collaborators included both basic scientists and clinicians, here and elsewhere, who were serious about the scientific basis of their practice. Examples of students, fellows and collaborators include: Bill Sessa, Andy Chiu, Ed Miller, Daracott Vaughn, Roger Johns and Bob Carey, to name just a few. Each of these individuals now hold major positions in Academic Medicine.

So for these and many other contributions, it was felt that a fitting memorial to Mike Peach would be an annual award made to a graduate student who embodied enthusiasm for research and the principles of sharing and collaboration which were central to Mike’s approach to science and medicine.

Jim Garrison, Ph.D.